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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Still No Good Reason to Criminalize Consanguinamory


Consanguinamory (consensual incest) has been a topic of discussion in New Zealand media lately. At canta.co.nz, the Official Magazine of the University of Canterbury Students' Association, there was a written "pro" and "con." On the side of decriminalizing consanguinamory was Tim Bain...
Let's start with choice. Relationships are about the worst possible place for the government to get involved. Governments are terrible at knowing what makes people happy and what they need in terms of their sex life. It's a pretty basic tenet of our society that unless we're hurting someone else, or hurting ourselves badly, we should be able to do what we like.

Incest falls into this category. 
Yes!



The argument then effectively tackles Discredited Arguments #1, 18, & 20. Then...
The last thing, and maybe most important thing to note is that whatever harms you think come from incest are made ten times worse when it's illegal. Let's look at the worst cases of incest – your Josef Fritzls, basically. These are the kinds of horrible, harmful incidents that happen whether or not incest is legal; where there's no consent, the abusers aren't all that worried about whether their actions are legal or not. When you make incest illegal, you create stigma, meaning people who are actually victims are less likely to come forward for help. You make it impossible for them to talk to their families or friends. You cut them off entirely from society, with the threat of prosecution locking them into abusive relationships.

In the end, incestuous relationships aren't perfect. And yes, some of them turn out badly. The problem is, criminalisation doesn't stop the worst offenses, but at the same time prevents people in healthy relationships with people they're related to from finding happiness. Sure, it's not right for me, and it's probably not right for you. But that doesn't mean it can't be what's right for someone else.
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you Tim Bain!

Holly McSweeney had the difficult task of trying to defend continuing bigotry...
The link between incest and the exploitation of the vulnerable is undeniable.
Thus, she starts off her argument equating consensual sex with rape/assault/molestation. She might as well have said the link between casual sex and rape is undeniable.
As a consequence, humans have evolved a natural aversion to the idea of mating with close relatives, which links to social taboos and laws prohibiting it.
This isn't accurate. Some people develop a natural aversion to sex with people who raised them or were raised with them, whether they are actual genetic relatives are or not, and that usually, but not always, overrides the tendency many people have to be attracted to people who look like them. This does not happen with all people in cohabitation and it doesn't apply in cases of Genetic Sexual Attraction, in which genetic relatives were not raised by each other or with each other.
Defenders of incest would suggest that this risk is very low, but this is often based on a misunderstanding or manipulation of statistics. The often-cited 1-3% risk of genetic deformities is calculated from societies that are largely out-bred, where incest is not the norm. Where a population consistently in-breeds, however, the number becomes considerably higher as across generations genetic diversity becomes less and less.

She writes that like the only thing that is keeping her from immediately getting pregnant by a close relative are the taboos and laws. Without those, she seems to think, she and everyone else would turn consanguinamorous and want to make babies. But she then conceded that Discredited Argument #18 doesn't work, so she moves on to Discredited Argument #19 and then #9.
While we see the odd news story or documentary about estranged siblings meeting as adults and finding love, the vast majority of incest cases are horrific stories of the twisted and violent exploitation of a parent to their child.
That is because there is a victim in those cases and the predators are being justly prosecuted. People in happy, spousal relationships with a close relative usually don't announce it in the media. Same goes for people who enjoyed youthful flings with siblings and all of the other people in between who have experienced consanguinamory. They keep quiet, largely because of bigots and discriminatory laws, but people who are involved or have been and are happy or at least not unhappy about it are everywhere. Ms. McSweeney no doubt knows some, who are now wincing as they read her opinion. They tend not to need counseling for their relationships, and thankfully, most of them do not get caught and prosecuted, so they are off the media radar.

Once again, we see that the excuses for continued criminalization of consanguinamory are few and flimsy. The more it is talked about, the more people will see there is no reason to discriminate against people in consensual relationships, and full marriage equality comes that much closer.
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